SOM holds last student showcase

The School of Music’s Concert Hall was filled with the steady rhythm of music and bright decor of lights as students sang songs ranging from country to pop on Friday night during the Commercial Music Showcase. 

Previously called the Artist Development Showcase, the semestral event allowed commercial music majors to showcase their performance skills during an evening filled with unique performances. 

“We put on this event to give (students) a real-world performance experience. It really teaches them to manage the stage space, to communicate well with their band and to work well with their background vocalists,” Mindy Damon, associate professor of commercial music, said. 

Under the glow of the stage lights, students were paired with a band and backup singers, complete with specific lighting and instruments that were unique to each performance. They were also introduced on two large screens stationed just above the crowd. This allowed each student to explain the meaning behind their chosen song, and it also gave the audience insight into each performer before they took the stage.

This showcase didn’t just happen overnight, though, as Damon noted that months of hard work were spent putting the
event together.

“We start working on the pieces that the students are going to sing before they leave for Christmas break. Many lessons are spent preparing the showcase piece,” Damon said. “Every song is different. There’s not one song that has the similar genre and style of another; plus, everyone’s singing voice is so different.”

Opening up the showcase was freshman Emma Gutierrez, who sang Carrie Underwood’s “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” under a stage illuminated by red lights.

“What I love most about performing is the engagement with the audience. In a secular environment, if my music brings joy to an audience, then that brings me joy,” Gutierrez said. “However, leading worship is my passion. If I’m able to lead God’s people in worship and share the gospel, I feel like I’m doing what God has called me to do.”

This performance was followed by many other students, who performed songs by popular artists such as Shawn Mendes, John Mayer and David Guetta. One student in particular, Josiah Santiago, performed solely with an electric guitar. The evening also included a handful of original songs written by the students themselves, totaling 18 different performances throughout the night. 

“Some of the songs are Christian and some of the songs are secular, but we try to teach that good music is good music,” Damon said. “All of the showcase pieces must be examined through a biblical worldview if it’s not Christian music, per se. It’s really fun for students to come and see performances of songs that aren’t overtly Christian in their lyrics and title. To be able to see those kinds of things performed in a meaningful way that can also glorify God — I don’t think we see that a lot.” 

The event concluded with a performance by junior Madi Vargo, who sang a “Joy Medley” before being joined onstage by all of the students who performed throughout
the showcase.

The School of Music has one more concert remaining this semester, performed by the Liberty Symphony Orchestra & Choirs and happening on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, visit 

Hess is the news editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow her on Twitter

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